Enlarged Liver

Dr. Rajalakshmi VK (AIIMS)MBBS

December 01, 2018

January 25, 2023

Enlarged Liver
Enlarged Liver

An enlarged liver or hepatomegaly occurs when the liver increases in size due to any cause ranging from a simple viral infection or serious medical conditions such as heart failure. Usually, treating the underlying cause helps in resolving hepatomegaly.

Enlarged Liver Symptoms

In most cases, an enlarged liver does not produce any symptoms, but symptoms can manifest due to an underlying disease. A few symptoms are mentioned below:

Enlarged Liver Causes

As the liver is the centre for various body functions, an alteration in these functions can be due to several diseases, which leads to liver enlargement.

The commonest causes of hepatomegaly include

  • Diseases of Liver
    • Amoebic abscess- formation of a pus-filled cavity in the liver due to infection with E. histolytica
    • Hepatitis
    • Cirrhosis
    • Fatty liver
    • Haemochromatosis – excessive iron deposition in the body
    • Liver cysts
    • Haemangiomas of the liver – deformities of the blood vessels of the liver
    • Obstructed gallbladder
    • Amyloidosis
    • Wilson’s disease – excessive copper deposition in the body
  • Other Diseases

Enlarged Liver Diagnosis & Treatment

Certain investigations mentioned below are required for determining the underlying cause of the disease.

  • Blood Tests
    • Complete blood count (CBC)
    • Liver function test
    • Serum protein levels
    • Hepatitis A, B, C, D, and E antigen/ antibody levels
  • Imaging Studies
    • Sonography of the abdomen
    • Computed tomography (CT) scan of the abdomen
    • Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) scan
  • Liver Biopsy – It helps in knowing the internal cellular structure of the liver cells (hepatocytes) and confirming the diagnosis

The treatment of hepatomegaly is solely dependent on the cause of enlargement. If the disease is due to infection, antibiotics may be prescribed; in a heart condition, the underlying condition needs to be treated; sometimes it may completely resolve on its own or may require only supportive enzymes. If the enlargement is due to cancer it may require either surgery or chemo-radiation therapy.

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  2. Schnelldorfer T, Torres VE, Zakaria S, et al. Polycystic liver disease: a critical appraisal of hepatic resection, cyst fenestration, and liver transplantation.. Ann Surg 2009; 250:112.
  3. Long RG, Scheuer PJ, Sherlock S.Presentation and course of asymptomatic primary biliary cirrhosis.. Gastroenterology 1977; 72:1204.
  4. MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia: US National Library of Medicine; Enlarged liver
  5. MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia: US National Library of Medicine; Fatty Liver Disease

Medicines for Enlarged Liver

Medicines listed below are available for Enlarged Liver. Please note that you should not take any medicines without doctor consultation. Taking any medicine without doctor's consultation can cause serious problems.